Two innings end CVFH season

While the Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball team was able to survive one disastrous inning Monday, it wasn't so lucky Tuesday.

Gilroy of Northern California came close to eliminating CVFH from the Western Regional Tournament with an eight-run top of the fourth inning Monday. It finished the job with a four-run top of the sixth for a 12-10 victory Tuesday after play was postponed in the fifth Monday with the score tied at 8 due to rain and lightning.

"It's a bummer because it's a tale of two innings for us," CVFH Coach Will Thayer said. "We gave up all 12 runs in two innings."

The loss eliminated CVFH, which finished the season 10-2 with Section 2 and Division III championships, in the first round of the Western Regional Championship Playoff, as it was one of four teams out of 11 to advance to the final round.

The game was played over two days with CVFH taking a 7-0 lead into the fourth inning Monday before Gilroy charged back with an eight-run top of the fourth on three walks, two hits and two errors. Calley Ellingford scored to knot the score at 8 for CVFH in the bottom of the fourth before the game was called with one out in the top of the fifth, where action resumed Tuesday.

"I think the biggest challenge [with the layoff] was the momentum change because we ended with some momentum and it got us going in the wrong direction," said CVFH's Jordan Lousararian. "It was hard to come back from that."

While the ending is bitter, Thayer said the year will be a sweet memory for himself and the girls looking back on what they accomplished by becoming the first District 16 Junior softball team to advance to Regionals in at least a decade.

"It feels great [having reached Regionals] and the best part is it's only the first year [for a lot of girls] and we are all pretty confident we will be able to come back here again next year," said Lousararian, who batted .368 (seven for 19) in the tournament with 10 runs batted in.

It also stands as the year both the CV (Junior) and Foothill (Major) teams finally overcame the Division III tournament after both squads were knocked out in the Division III championship round in 2011.

"There is some satisfaction to finally get here," Thayer said. "It was a lot of fun. We had a really nice run, we had some quality victories and some great times, but it is sad [it has to end]."

Three walks and a bases-loaded triple from Brook Loesch for Gilroy in the top of the sixth ended the season for CVFH on Tuesday.

Mackenzie Holt drew a one-out walk to start the attack, moved to second on a soft single from Alexis Conlon to second and a two-out walk to Michaela Decker jammed the bases for Gilroy.

Patia Soria first broke through for Gilroy when she drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count. Loesch padded the lead with a three-RBI triple to right field.

"The strike zone was a little tighter today and there were a lot of close calls we didn't get on those walks," Thayer said. "When you start walking people all it takes is one hit to spring things open and that's what happened. … It happened very fast both [innings] we gave up those runs."

There was no quit from CVFH, which faced a four-run deficit with six outs to go.

A pair of singles from Taylor Schaffer and Miranda Diaz, the respective No. 8 and 9 hitters for CVFH, gave CV a strong start to the bottom of the seventh.

Sammy Fabian (two for four with two runs in the game) looked to add to it when she smacked a line drive up the middle, but it was snagged by the Gilroy pitcher, who fired a quick off-target throw to first looking to double up Diaz (two for three) to put runners at second and third on an error.

"The pitcher just puts her glove up and catches it," Thayer said. "If that goes through, it's a completely different inning. If the game goes another inning or two, it could have been a different game."

An Alex Howard (double, four RBI) groundout to the pitcher brought Schaffer home and Camie Ellingford brought the tying run to the plate when she lined a RBI single to center field.

Lousararian, who has led CVFH all postseason in the circle and at the plate, worked her way into a 3-1 count, but lined out to second to end the game.

Still, Lousararian knows there's plenty of bright days left in the future for the CVFH softball players, with first-year players returning for another run at the Junior Little League World Series in 2013 and others going on to compete at the high school level.

"[This year] is a step," she said. "We are going to come back next year even better, and we won't be satisfied to just get to [Regionals]. We are going to go for the World Series."

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